Bollywood Movies: Perception of Global Audience in International Markets

Market Forces at Play in BollywoodThere’s no doubt that the world is taking notice of the Indian film industry today, but that is because Bollywood has bigger budgets now, are shooting films in exotic foreign locations, and is trying hard to expand in foreign markets.

But what’s the perception of Bollywood Movies in International Markets?

What Are The Bollywood Movies Like?

Bollywood may be India’s version of California’s Hollywood, but the films are quite different from typical American films.

Bypassing the reality, popular Hindi films (and even the Tamil ones) are usually ‘masala’ (spicy) movies that comprise a bit of everything – music, dance, violence and melodrama.

The films of Bollywood (and even regional films) are typically musicals that have catchy music (songs and dance numbers) woven into the script.


We have reached a comfort zone, and films are made like projects, with few songs and emotional scenes in place. Whenever I go to international festivals, they start dancing because they think this is how Bollywood is,” said Nawazuddin Siddiqui (worked in The Lunch Box (2013), and Kahaani (2012))

In Bollywood films, the languages of Hindi, Urdu and bit of English are common.

Although the industry is becoming more professional, there was a time when so many films were getting made that you could see the same actors shooting for four different films at the same time on the same set. Most of them didn’t even have proper scripts; many a times the scripts would be hand-written.

But times have changed, and actors and filmmakers in Bollywood are gradually becoming more professional.

International Market for Indian Films

The international market is not very open to Indian films, although a few Indian films do get appreciated. We need to change the look and feel and music of our films to appeal to a slightly wider audience and not just the Indian and NRI audience.

We cannot cater to the Hollywood audience with an Indian approach as our culture is very alien to them. They will like an approach which they can grasp and understand.

Did you know that for the movie ‘The Lunchbox’, the filmmakers used an American editor and German music composer. All these foreign technicians made it more appealing to the global audience.

Most Bollywood movies are made keeping the local audience in mind. Every time a SRK or Salman Khan movie is released, there are many who’re unable to understand why the movie is such a huge hit, and most of them are those who like Hollywood kind of films.

Bollywood movies have big stars, but the script doesn’t make much sense to them.

Market Forces at Play in Bollywood

Having said that, things have definitely improved in the last few years. In the emerging scenario, Bollywood’s work ethic has ratcheted up, as one would expect with the primary difference being in professionalism.

Among the drivers are newer opportunities for film stars to make money. Stars are offered three and four films at a time, referring to one of the many changes that have come with the entry of corporations in the industry. Also, a lot of actors have the opportunity to become producers themselves and therefore become partners and share in the business’s profits.

Whether an actor’s astronomical fee affect the balance of a film’s economics depends on the producers of these films. Though it may be foolhardy to offer such big fees it has nothing to do with the actor; as the skyrocketing salaries is attributed to “market forces at play. The increasing opportunities for actors to work on various projects will also ultimately be a benefit for audiences.

Experts also feel that often Bollywood films are put together after a star comes into a project, and then a script is found, and most but attribute that practice to relationships. There are certain films that do well and a name gets attached to it. But that can be said about the world of business as well.

For instance a film with a budget of Rs. 50 crore (US$10 million) would need a star cast with the heft and profile to ensure a return on investment, you just can’t rely on a bunch of newcomers.

Read complete article here at India Knowledge@Wharton

Back to home page from Market Forces at Play in Bollywood